Black Angry Face

3 things that make me far more mad than they should

I have brain issues.

There, I said it. It’s right there, above, look!

While I am generally well adjusted, calm, and capable of calling myself “well adjusted” and “calm” with a straight face despite all signs to the contrary, there are things that make me angry.

Usually it’s stuff that we can all agree on, like people without manners, or snow.

But there are a couple of things that, objectively, should not even register on anyone’s “giving a damn” radar. Yet these things can make me furious. Inside my head. Inside-head-fury is the best kind of fury. Try it. It’s on me.

Here are some of those things.

3. Having my greeting ignored

I’m a friendly guy. I’ll smile. I’ll make eye contact. I’ll chuckle appreciatively when you tell me a joke about poultry crossing some roads. I’ll always say “hi”, or at least nod, when we pass each other in the hallway.

But you better return that “hi” or nod. If you pass by me and fail to acknowledge my greeting in an appropriate manner, I will hate you forever. “Forever” being “a few seconds of stunned, silent rage”, until the rational part of my brain catches up and tells me it’s not a big deal.

I’m not completely insane. I realise there are a lot of reasons you could have ignored me. Maybe you were in a hurry. Maybe you were so lost in thought that you didn’t even see me. Maybe you come from a place where greetings are prohibited by government decree. Maybe you’re simply allergic to the word “hi”.

See, the rational Daniel knows this. However, for a few moments after you overlook that smile I have so generously shared, I will be mad. Really mad. It’s quite impressive how quickly I’ll turn from a friendly, well-meaning person to a ball of condensed hatred when this happens.

Greeting Man Hat

“Top of the morning to you, good s…oh, go fuck yourself, asshole!”

Don’t worry, you won’t even know I hate you. I’ll come around quickly enough and forget all about it. Unless you do it again, that is. If I brand you a “repeat greeting offender” you shall know my wrath. You won’t see it, you won’t know about it, but you’ll feel it, somehow. I’m sure of it. You’ve been warned.

2. People who don’t play the “bless you” game

Look, let’s face it: saying “bless you” after someone sneezes doesn’t do anything useful. It doesn’t help the sneezing person in any way. It won’t cure their sneezing affliction. It’s essentially just you saying “hey there, I noticed you sneezed, so I wanted to let you know that I heard it and, you know, here we are”.

Yet, somehow, we have collectively decided that a sneeze calls for a customary “bless you” / “thank you” exchange. Humans are weird.

I play the “bless you” game all the time, because I’m polite and have OCD. So it usually bothers me when my own sneezes are greeted by the sound of fish singing the opera. That was a cryptic and contrived way of saying “silence”, because I don’t do word things too good.

But that’s nothing compared to having my “bless you” ignored. I am typically the first – and often the only – person in the room to offer a well-timed “bless you” after someone’s sneeze. When that person proceeds to silently accept my “bless you” without a “thank you”, Daniel go mad quick. Again, you won’t notice this, but you can bet I’m finding elaborate, nose-related ways to put a curse on you.

Nose

May your nose forever look like a penis with three testicles.

Again, I know how ridiculous it is to get worked up about this, but refer to “brain issues” above.

1. The “stop” button stand-off

This is a very niche case, so bear with me as I try to explain. Busses in Denmark have this “stop” button you can press, which tells the driver you want to get off at the next stop. That way, if nobody presses the “stop” button and there’s nobody at the bus stop, the driver can just carry on driving. Smart.

Well, trust me to find a way to get mad about it.

I take a bus from work to a train station nearby. Pretty much everyone on that bus gets off at that train station. I know this, so I usually wait for someone to press the “stop” button. Someone usually does. But then there are days where the bus gets closer and closer to the station, yet nobody presses the button. This is when my brain goes through the following silent monologue:

“Come on, guys. I know you’re going to the station too. Press the ‘stop’  button. If you don’t press it he won’t stop. Guys?! We’re close now. Press the goddamn button! Jesus, fine, I’ll press the damn button myself. Here! I have to remember everything for you! Without me you’d miss your stop and who knows how your lives would have turned out?! And you don’t even thank me for it. You just take all of that button-pressing work I do for granted, don’t you?! What? Now you’re leaving the bus before me?! How dare you?! Do you even know what I’ve done for you? You owe me! I made this possible!”

Red Button

Do you even know what it takes to press this with your finger?

Yeah…it’s…it’s probably a good thing I share this post after getting married. I doubt she’d have said “yes” otherwise.

Speaking of which, here are those professional wedding photos I’ve promised. Hopefully they’ll help you forget how incurably mad I am at times.

***

There Is MoreFor more rants and general insanity, check these out:

Where the fuck are your manners?!

I hate snow!

Special recipe for absinthe and vodka strawberry cake

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Bus Plane Icon

Very the bestest bus in the countries!

Yet again I return from a trip to the motherland.

Yes, it was good, thanks. Yes, I did drink vodka.  No, I didn’t force feed borsch to hapless tourists while screaming “this is what real freedom tastes like, you capitalist pigs!”.

Although yes, I did actually eat some borsch.

During this trip I have, for the first time ever, taken a bus from Kiev to Kharkov (my home city). The trip takes around 7 hours and is serviced by a company called Autolux.

Before I start ridiculing the company, allow me to make one thing clear: this was absolutely, hands down, the best bus experience of my life. Their buses are clean, comfortable, in great condition and all routes are serviced by a “stewardess” who serves tea, coffee and a selection of snacks. They run on schedule and are extremely affordable. You pay 165 hryvnas for the 500 km Kiev-Kharkov trip, while some taxis in Kiev will charge you around 300 hryvnas just to drive you from the airport to the city centre.

Driver

As today’s only-for-you special, you also get a dose of “fuck you” for free!

Unfortunately, they also have an English website. No, wait, I’m sorry. I misspoke. What I meant to say is they have a Russian website that’s been poorly translated into English by a drunk guy armed with Google Translate and a lack of basic understanding of what words are. The whole website is a goldmine of material for Engrish.com. There is a bit of everything on it:  misused words, poor grammar,  incoherent ramblings of a raving lunatic, you name it!

Below I share with you some of the best examples of attempted English from the Autolux website. They are accompanied by fake feedback from equally English-challenged and non-existent Russian customers. Enjoy.

1. These buses is different from the others, the number of passenger seats — 29, it haves a big distance between the seats, and much more than conventional buses, and seats can be decomposed almost 180 degrees.

I attempt to make the rid of my “associate” in clean manner, but after ten hour travels by your bus he still no sign of decompose. Why false promise?

– Andrey “Knuckles” Vorkovsky, businessman and top mafia all-star.

 2. In case of failure of the load, the sender makes the return of the goods (forwarding).

I also invent time machine to forward the return, yet my load never fail!

– Sergey Puchenko, rocket scientist, duck hoarder, insane.

3. In this case, the payment may take an individual with a confidence and a private letter to the passport.

After five separate private letter to passport, still no reply. Passport have no heart. Where find the confidence?

– Mila Rantseva, cat lady, lonely.

4. Applications for abstraction of goods made ​​in advance, but not later than one day prior to shipment, and the movers services are not available.

Thank, is very clear. I place one application for advancing day of shipment to the movers outside the service abstraction, please!

– Vasily Korobeikin, linguistic genius.

5. Wherever there were customers, employees «Autolux» is always welcome them in any of our offices.

I was in the town and will have go to your office. Nobody is there. Now how will I placed order?

– Maria Karaseva, pensionist.

6. Now, more than 180 trucks of the company operates about 40 daily cargo flights between the cities of Ukraine, not counting the extra.

Very sad no delivery in my village of Extra. Very happy for flying truck. Scare neighbours, pick up the chicks, I like

– Petr Rtishenko, teenager, party guy, sexy symbols.

7. With more in their own vehicle park 50 new buses, «Autolux» executes as 40 daily passengers flights to most cities in Ukraine.

Sound like you need good lawyer, so many passenger “execute” (eye-close-open, eye-close-open, nods nods)

– Yaroslav Lebed, “lawyer”

8. In the case of non-payment of the goods returned to the sender only after the official request to the sender.

Need help. Goods refuse to pay money after many official request. Please return goods and bring new ones who willing to provide for payment

– Stanislava Kolach, model, future wife.

9. We value shipment and handling fees is a legal entity, in column 7 the name of the company or emergency.

Bear Attack Inc. would be delight in conduct the business with you

– Olga Gljantseva, CEO of such famous company as Burglary Ltd., Cat Stuck In Tree Ltd. and Set Fire To Crotch And Cannot Make Stop LLC.

10. Both transportation (sending cargo and sending payments for cash on delivery) are associated with one (the original), the number declaration.

There can been only the one

– High-Upper-Lands Man

11. Reimbursement shall be made in the original shipping point mandrel.

I is send flower to lady friend, receive some kind of a metal stick contraption with different part. Extreme satisfied!

– Anatoly Shjuka, plumber, Super Mario impersonator.

Yellow Bus

I don’t know!

This week’s challenge at Dude Write is to tell an embarrassing true story, but keep it under 1500 characters.

That’s around 200-300 words.

Damnit, but I like my words!

Anyways, here we go:

I moved to Denmark from Ukraine at the age of 14. I spoke no Danish at the time, because Russian and Danish languages are a bit different. Shocking, I know.

I did learn one phrase though. That phrase was “Det ved jeg ikke”, Danish for “I don’t know”. From that point on I used that phrase liberally to get out of all conversations. I was exactly 4% more eloquent than Hodor from Game Of Thrones, who only ever says “Hodor”.

One day I was on a bus, when a kindergarten teacher with 10 children in tow got on. She took all the kids to the back of the bus where I sat and started saying something to me.

I countered with my perfectly rehearsed “Det ved jeg ikke”.

Suddenly, the woman looked very upset and, in an angry voice, said “Det ved du ikke?!” (“du” is “you” in Danish).

I shook my head “no”, puzzled by her violent reaction to my poor Danish skills. How could I have upset her so much with my limited vocabulary?

Then she grabbed one of the kids, sat down sulkily next to me, and plopped the kid onto her lap. She kept glancing at me and shaking her head in frustration.

It was only after a few stops that I’d managed to piece the puzzle together in my head. She must have asked me whether I could move to another seat, so that she could sit down together with all the kids. When I said “I don’t know” she heard “I will not“.

Fun fact: “vil” (will) and “ved” (know) sound remarkably similar.

So I have effectively told her and the kids to go screw themselves.

Class act, Daniel.

The Vietnam Diaries 2011: August 1st – Hai Phong, Cat Ba, Viet Hai

At 6 in the morning I wake to discover that my thumb has gotten even worse. I can barely move it at all. The area around the thumb is swollen and hard to the touch. No obvious signs of a mutant insect trying to eat my hand from the inside, but you never know. After a while, tiredness wins over paranoia and I manage to fall asleep again until 8:30.

For some reason my hand doesn’t get miraculously cured within that time. Katka and I discuss options ranging from buying some anti-allergy pills to going to a hospital. We consult the Lonely Planet and immediately rule out all options. According to the book ingesting any pills sold over the counter is equivalent to suicide. It also advises strongly against Vietnamese public hospitals. Great.

Having received my daily doze of depression from the book I decide to wait and hope the hand gets better with time. We have a quick breakfast. Afterwards the tour guy drives me to the bus station on his scooter. Here I pick up two tickets to Hai Phong. We return to the hotel where I give him a generous tip for all his help during our three day stay in Ninh Binh.

Katka and I leave the hotel and walk to the bus station. Here we find the empty bus waiting for passengers. The doors of the luggage compartment are wide open. We are just about to put our bags inside when a guy materialises out of nowhere (or from inside the bus, I wasn’t paying attention). He shakes his head “no”, grabs our bags and brings them inside the bus instead. Odd, wouldn’t an empty luggage compartment be a good place for, you know, luggage?

“No sir, that’s not luggage, that’s a suitcase!”

There’s a large air conditioning unit at the top of the bus with “Air Conditioner” written on it. However, the unit seems to be just a hollowed out shell that used to contain something before. Our air conditioning will most likely consist of a few open windows. A few men outside the bus are tying small ropes together into thick braids. Hmmm, empty luggage compartment, ropes. Are we getting kidnapped? (Spoiler: we weren’t, because then I probably wouldn’t be writing these diaries).

We leave Ninh Binh shortly before 12:00. Aside from the two drivers and the “luggage” guy we are the only two people on the bus. On our way out of Ninh Binh we pick up a few more passengers at random spots along the road. There are no designated bus stops, people just hail the bus over as it makes its way through the city and hop on.

On the outskirts of Ninh Binh the bus suddenly stops. Both drivers and the luggage guy jump out. The luggage compartment doors swing open. We see the men carry big bags of what looks like wheat, dried grass and seeds inside. Well, that solves the mystery of the inaccessible luggage space. Granted, one of the less nail-biting mysteries in existence.

On the next episode of “What’s that empty space used for?”…

We start driving again, but the bus comes to another stop a few hundred metres down the road. We are now by a wood craftsman’s store. The luggage guy suddenly disappears into one of the open side windows and pulls himself up onto the roof. One of the drivers joins him. The second driver and the shop owner begin passing huge boards of carved wood (most likely parts of a bed and/or wardrobe) to the guys on the roof. The wooden boards fit neatly into the hollowed out air conditioning unit. Another mystery solved.

We leave the shop, but repeat the stop-and-load sequence a few more times at other nearby stores. The pile of wooden boards on the roof is now growing dangerously tall. This is where the braids we’ve seen the men make earlier come into play. They secure the furniture to the roof with a few braids and we set off again.

For the next three hours the following sequence plays out every few minutes:

The bus stops to pick up/drop off some passengers or cargo. Then the driver speeds off like a maniac, honking and swerving through the traffic, overtaking cars and threatening to kill us all in a giant collision. Then he comes to an abrupt halt to drop off or pick up more people and things. We are never on the move for more than five minutes at a time and the whole ride is built around cargo pick up/drop off spots.

Also, every time the bus backs up it plays “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. By the time the trip’s over the tune is stuck in my head and is driving me nuts.

I just can’t get you out of my head! Great, that reminds me of another song. It’s a vicious circle!

Close to the end of the journey the luggage man notices the by now so popular army helmet I bought in Hanoi. He takes out one of his own and shows me that it’s superior by knocking on it and pointing at a star at the front of it. Does that mean the cheap souvenir I bought off of a street vendor is not an actual army helmet? No way!

Finally we come to a stop at a huge parking area with several other buses. The luggage guy grabs our bags and takes them to the exit. He puts them on the ground and says “Hai Phong”. Guess we’re here.

As we step off the bus we’re surrounded by a group of loud and persistent drivers offering taxis and motorbikes to Ben Binh (the pier from which hydrofoils to Cat Ba depart). Since they’re too pushy and their prices are sky high we ignore their offers and walk out onto the main street by the bus station. Here we easily find a cab to take us to Ben Binh for a less insane price.

The driver drops us off between two tour company stands. Before we have a moment to catch our breath a woman from one of the stands runs up to us and unleashes a torrent of words in an attempt to hard-sell us a trip to Cat Ba. She claims that we have missed the early hydrofoils that go directly to Cat Ba Town. The last hydrofoil leaves at 16:00 (it is now 15:40) and can only take us to the western side of the island, from where we have to take a bus to Cat Ba Town.

She quotes a price of 300,000 dong per person, claiming that 150,000 are for the hydrofoil and 150,000 more are for the bus. We have paid 70,000 dong per person for the 3,5 hour trip from Ninh Binh and also know that trips all the way from Hanoi to Cat Ba cost less than 300,000 dong. Katka walks off to talk to the other tour agent. Immediately, the woman jumps up, yells something in Vietnamese to the other tour agent and leads Katka back. Subtle, and not at all suspicious.

“Look, I’m telling you the truth! Just ask anyone! But just don’t, you know, talk to anyone”

By now it’s obvious that she’s a scammer, but the other tour agent refuses to talk to us and the time is running out. We have a bungalow booked and paid for in Viet Hai and we’re at the risk of missing our last hydrofoil. We’re effectively held hostage by the woman (well, minus the constant threat of death). In the end we buy the ridiculously overpriced tickets and go to the hydrofoil. (CONTINUE TO PAGE 2)